Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal infection that occurs when the natural balance of bacteria is disrupted. Normally, the good bacteria is able to prevent the bad bacteria from growing too much. However, when the number of good bacteria is insufficient in order to maintain this balance, the bad bacteria is able to take control. This is when BV can develop.
While this condition is not considered serious, it can cause further complications if left untreated for long enough. Therefore, if you begin to notice any signs or symptoms, then visiting a doctor to get diagnosed is in the best interest of your health.
Bacterial vaginosis can sometimes be asymptomatic, meaning that it’s present but no symptoms are visible. To be specific, almost half of all cases are asymptomatic. The most common symptom associated with it is vaginal discharge. The color varies depending on the case, but tends to be either white, gray, or yellow. Discharge doesn’t confirm it 100%, as it could indicate the presence of several different types of conditions. This is why getting diagnosed is emphasized.
Another symptom to pay attention to is a fishy smell, which is considered to be a pretty good indicator of bacterial vaginosis.
What’s troubling about this condition is that a known cause has yet to be identified. Experts have yet to figure out what disrupts the natural balance in the vagina. What they do know however is that certain activities can increase a woman’s risk for getting it.
For instance, having sexual intercourse with a new partner or with several partners can lead to the onset of bacterial vaginosis. Douching is another risk factor. Women should be aware of the fact that the vagina natural cleanses itself, and douching is therefore not necessary. Most health experts only recommend doing it if a doctor prescribes it.
Some women experience recurring bacterial vaginosis that comes and goes every so often. Taking antibiotics is known to cause this to happen quite a bit. BV can be passed from one woman to another, but is not able to be passed on to men.
As previously mentioned, BV can lead to more serious health issues. It’s uncommon, but can occur. For instance, should it occur while pregnant, the possibility of a miscarriage, premature labor, and a uterine infection all increase. A pelvic infection is more likely if a woman were to undergo a pelvic procedure while having bacterial vaginosis.